Wednesday, February 25, 2009

ToC Wrap Up

So Cali was decent for us. No big wins but two VERY close calls by Nibali.

My main responsibility was to interpret the flurry of questions being thrown at me, as most of the guys don't speak english. I also sat up on stage with Ivan at the pre-race press conference. It was a bit strange sharing the mic with Lance, Levi, George and Christian. Luckily, once people realized that he'd need interpreter, they lost interest and refocused on Lance. Then the fireworks came with Kimmage's question!

After that, it was to the start and finish of each stage. I also had Andrea Noe as a guest rider for some test rides and retailer rides. That involved some early morning drives and rides as well. We had a good time and some good riding. Rides and shop visits/autograph sessions were arranged with Mike's Bikes in Sacramento, Herb Bauer's in Clovis, and Swami's in San Diego. Here is a photo from the Clovis ride, taken near Millerton Lake.

We also participated in a climbing camp set up by our Philly retailer, Cadence Cycles. It was a great ride in and around the Agora hills. There were about 40 of us total and the instruction by Brian Walton was great. Andrea was a champ, joking around and trying his best to understand english!

The Solvang TT was a let down. Ivan hit his knee and I immediately went into 'take care of Ivan' mode. I did a press statement with him before rushing him off to Santa Monica for an MRI and lunch followed by a long drive down to San Diego. The next morning was an early flight home for him. That was the second of three 5:00 am morning trips to the airport!

Sunday was another early morning followed by my driving of team car #2, after all my statements that I wouldn't do it again! I picked up RoRo, a Facebook friend who took plenty of photos including this one. The crowds were fantastic and the tension high as Nibali went after the stage win. It wasn't to be, however, and we had to settle for second.

I'm now finally getting ready to fly home. Milan, actually. From there, I'll drive down to Massa Marittima for the CFR team camp. More to come from there!

Big thanks also to Richard and Sharon from Speedplay for the hospitality and restaurant tips!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Tour of California Update

It's been awhile so here goes! First off, please check my Twitter udpates as I'm doing quite a bit more of that from the races. Also, it's been embedded into's Liquigas page, so expect more info to come there! We've got lots of info there and a ton of videos posted.

The rain of the early stages is behind us now, and everyone's attitude towards California changed rapidly once the sun came out!

I've been traveling with Andrea Noe, our guest rider, doing some nice training on a borrowed System Six (my new Super was broken in transit and I'm looking forward to building another one up once back home). Today, we have the climbing camp (I need it!) with Cadence Cyclery from Philadelphia. It's kind of a day off for me! I won't even see the TT in Solvang today, I've left it up to my partner in crime Scott to take care of our guests. Let's see if he either learns Italian today or discovers how tough my job really is!

Racewise, Nibali and Basso are sitting pretty in the top twenty with determination to climb further up in today's TT. There is a bit of a running joke among the team directors - when Nibali reacted too early to Levi's attack on the climb on stage 2, race radio announced rider number "66" had gone off to bridge. We now call the Shark of the Strait "66" (in a thick Italian accent of course). 

Anyone notice that Ivan doesn't really have a big smile in pictures? Is he Liquigas' Mona Lisa?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

ToC Arrival

Four days into my Cali stay and I'm still suffering from the 9 hour difference. Up at 4:30, little sleep, long days with lots to do... it's tiring! Liquigas is pretty well set up. We've provided our freshly-wrapped (green!) truck for the mechanics to call home, along with assistance from James. We also provided plenty of the mechanics' and masseuses requests so they were able to travel a little bit lighter.

On arrival, I unpacked my new bike... freshly built with one ride... and it was broken. Evidently I packed the box a bit too tight and after the security check it was repacked in a hurry. Oh well, I'm set up with a borrowed SRAM System Six... and the replacement is on the way already.

I picked the boys up on Tuesday night, along with AG2R. Immediately off the plane and they looked like a commercial for a cell phone provider...

Yesterday was their first ride followed by lunch and some wind trainer riding. The cold, wet weather here hasn't been conducive to overcoming the jetlag. Today, we've got some journalists coming along for the ride. We're also filming for a commercial spot. Lots of the guys who were behind the scenes from Napoleon Dynamite are shooting here. They're equipped with the (Oakley) Red camera.

Last night was a bit of karaoke in the hotel bar. I'm no stranger to the mic, but there were some pros there who are better than anyone on American Idol!

More to come...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Benicasim Videos

Just posted on the new (check out the Liquigas team page). These are the first two of the videos we shot in Benicasim in December.

CX Worlds

SO - 'cross world championships were awesome, even if the results aren't what I wanted and the men's race itself was over after two laps. Takeaways? There were TONS of fans as usual, but way more than the World Cup I went to at the same course (like 20 times as many) a few years ago. During the race, you couldn't get close to the course - it was four deep! Hence, I didn't get any decent race photos or video. Everyone knows the results so far, so here's what I have...

Cross is a religion to Belgians... here's their Pope! This dude got plenty of attention so I'm sure this is to be yet another useless image posted of him. But I thought it was funny... the first time I saw him!

Saturday night I caught up with Franzoi, and Slongo brought him some new tricolore shoes. He was a bit worried that the frozen course would be too fast. As I tweeted, he asked us to go drench the course on Saturday night! He's still a bit of a star with the Belgians, and rightly so. He's a hammer, and I can't wait for him to break out another big result against the Beneluxers!

Post-race, I helped Stu and Powers pack their stuff up. I was to return the Cannondale Factory Racing camper that we lent to them for their Euro trip. Stu was ready to get back home to the family, while Jpow was heading back to get ready for the road season. Seems he won't be at ToC. The Cannondale/ Nine Ballers raced 32 times in the US this year and grabbed 31 podiums and over 20 wins... domination!

The drive back was uneventful. I left Belgium at about 10pm. The snow and my blurry-eyed state forced me into a French hotel at about 2am... just in time to see the halftime show. YAWN. I dig Bruce, but I don't appreciate spoon-feeding music to the masses. I was half expecting to see Aerosmith, Lady GaGa and Lil Wayne to make an appearance just to make everyone happy. Anyway... I'll stop being salty and get some rest.